Morocco and Palestine forge industrial pact following Netanyahu's map controversy

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Morocco and Palestine signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Rabat on Wednesday to strengthen their industrial cooperation. The agreement focuses on mutual recognition of certificates of conformity, quality marks, and halal labels between the two countries.

Ryad Mezzour, Moroccan Minister of Industry and Trade, and Arafat Hussein Suleiman Asfour Abusnina, Palestinian Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment Promotion, signed the agreement.

Mezzour emphasized the importance of the MoU for mutual economic development and increased trade. He stated that it «opens the way to new investment and market opportunities, while consolidating the historical and fraternal ties between Morocco and Palestine», according to MAP reports.

Abusnina commended Morocco's industrial progress, highlighting the potential benefits of Moroccan expertise for Palestine.

This agreement comes just days after a strain in Israeli-Moroccan relations. In late May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared in an interview on French television channels TF1 and LCI holding a map of the Arab world and Iran that excluded Western Sahara from Moroccan territory.

The Prime Minister's office later apologized for what it called an «intentional» error.

The use of the map that excludes the Sahara from Moroccan territory has led to criticism and speculation about whether Israel has backtracked on its recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over the Sahara, enacted in July 2023.

Since Israel's war on Gaza last October, Israeli-Moroccan relations, which resumed in December 2020, have been strained. Morocco has become more critical of Israel in various international and regional forums.

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